Greek authorities have reportedly managed to uncover a murder plot targeting Russian national Alexander Vinnik, which was arrested in the country earlier this year, suspected of laundering $4 billion in bitcoin through cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e.
According to news source Sputnik, Greek police received information about the murder plot earlier this year, but decided not to make it public to assist investigators. Per Sputnik’s source:
“It all began after Vinnik’s extradition to the United States was blocked. There people who are extremely interested in him not coming to Russia. The assassination was ordered by some unknown person from Russia.”
The murder plot, the source added, isn’t connected to any special services, as it is “linked to the criminal world.” It added that it all began when Vinnik’s extradition to the United States was blocked, as there are individuals who are “extremely interested in him not coming to Russia.” Per his words, the assassination plot was ordered by someone in Russia.
Notably, Vinnik reportedly wrote an acknowledgement of guilt in Russia, and is set to testify in the country to assist investigators. This, after he admitted to knowing about crimes “committed in the sphere of financial technologies.”
The Russian national’s lawyers, in response to the situation, stated:
“Such statement should be investigated via a proper procedure, rather than through public statements and discussions.”
As covered by CCN, Vinnik was arrested at the request of the US government. At the time, it was believed he was BTC-e’s chief executive, but the exchange soon denied he was even an employee there, while Vinnik claimed innocence.
For a time, Vinnik’s future was thrown into turmoil, as he and his lawyers argued he should stand trial in Russia, while a Greek court agreed to a US extradition request. His fate was in the hands of Greece’s Minister of Justice, Nikos Paraskevopoulos.
At the time of Vinnik’s arrest, BTC-e’s domain was seized and taken down. The embattled exchange managed to come back online, and rebranded to WEX. WEX has, as covered, seen its share of controversy as some of its users’ funds were stuck in limbo, while the company blamed a third party. Since CCN’s report, the exchange has helped users get their money back.